Now Streaming: UPLOAD, The Afterlife, With Light Comedy, Drama and Romance
Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, and Allegra Edwards star in the series, created by Greg Daniels for Amazon Prime Video.
"It's hard to imagine that nothing at all could be so exciting." -- Jerry Harrison, David Byrne.
The entire 10-episode first season will begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video as of Friday, May 1, 2020. I've seen all 10 episodes.
Greg Daniels, whose many credits include King of the Hill, The Office and Parks and Recreation, is the creator and guiding force behind a new series. Like a lot of broadcast television veterans, Daniels takes full advantage of the creative freedoms afforded by subscription streaming services. Thus, Upload features a constant flow of imagery and language that would not be found on a broadcast television network in the U.S.
Even so, Daniels favors restraint, so the imagery and language is naughty, rather than nasty. So what truly makes Upload an adult offering that wouldn't be caught dead on network air in its present form?
Principally, it's Nora Antony, who works at a company that provides an afterlife for dead people.
The premise is that technology has advanced to a point where entire virtual-reality worlds have been created, places where wealthy people on the brink of death can transfer their consciousness into a body and live on, indefinitely, and/or until their money runs out.
Nathan Brown, played by Robbie Amell, is the protagonist of the series. He himself is not wealthy, but his rich, longtime girlfriend Ingrid (Allegra Edwards) makes an instantaneous decision that she can't live without him after he is on the brink of death from an automobile accident. Nathan is not even sure he wants to stay in the relationship, but he wakes up in his new forever home, beholden to a woman who is starting to drive him batty.
His guide / guardian angel is Nora Antony, a human who functions as an uber-customer service agent for Nathan, as well as other customers. As played by the marvelous Andy Allo, a singer and songwriter who is also an actress, Nora is the most well-rounded and appealing character.
Struggling with her continued grief for her mother, and realizing that her father's days are numbered, Nora is also hard-pressed to always be cheerful and kind in word and deed for the benefit of her customers. Against all common sense, she finds herself drawn to Nathan, who rediscovers his humanity, thanks, strangely enough, to his new circumstances and to his physical separation from Ingrid, who tends toward a cynical, shallow view of mankind.
As if a human/not-human relationship wasn't tough enough, the series also throws in a twist about the events surrounding Nathan's earthly demise.
Drawing inspiration, intentionally or not, from a scad of other shows that deal with the possibilities of an afterlife, Upload benefits from the shorter running time of its episodes (generally about 30 minutes) and a snappy pace that still allows sci-fi fans to enjoy the clever extrapolations about the afterlife. It's heavily branded by intrusive advertising sponsors, for example.
Robbie Amell accomplishes a nice turn on his character as he comes of belated age, but it's Andy Allo who is the star of the series, nearly perfect in capturing the perplexities of family and love, and the possibilities of romance, amidst an abundance of silly jokes and thoughtful meditations.
Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.